Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1857 & 1869

Joh Skerratt (1785 - 1869)

 John Skerratt was a soldier who participated in the Battle of Waterloo. He became a Chelsea Pensioner, before moving to Manchester.

He was born in 1785 in Cranage, Cheshire, and was baptised on 1st July 1787 in nearby Sandbach, Cheshire. The record shows that his father was also named John. On 21st January 1801, at the age of 17 years and 10 months John joined the Grenadier Guards, 1st Regiment of Foot under the command of Lord Saltoun, and reached the rank of Sergeant.

Lieutenant-General Alexander George Frazer, 17th Lord Saltoun (1785 – 1853), was a Scottish representative Peer and a British Army General who fought in the Napoleonic Wars and the First Anglo-Chinese War. He served with the Grenadiers in Scicily (1806), at Coruna (1808), on Walcheren (1809) and in Spain and France from 1812 to 1814).  In 1815 Lord Saltoun commanded the Light Companies of the First Regiment of Guards (later the Grenadier Guards) in the Orchard at Hougoumont on the morning of the Battle of Waterloo. It was Lord Saltoun who, later in the day, first noticed Napoleon's Imperial Guard emerge from the hollow where they had been hiding all day, and drew the Duke of Wellington's attention to them.

Wellington had positioned his men on a ridge about a mile from where Napoleon's Army had assembled. Most of the men were protected from French fire by the ridge. However, there were three forward positions, right, left and centre, about 500 yards forward of the ridge. At 7 pm on 17th June 1815, orders were given that the four light companies of both 1st and 2nd Guards Brigades were to move immediately to occupy the forward position of the chateau, farm and orchard of Hougoumont. Other troops occupied a wood. The 1st Guards occupied the orchard and 2nd Guards occupied the buildings. The French had the same idea, but Wellington's men had beaten them to it. The Guards at the chateau and farm spent the night improving defences in heavy rain.

At midday on 18th June the French first attacked the wood and Allied troops had to withdraw to the orchard where the 1st Guards were. The French were now in sight of Hougoumont, but defences held. The 1st Guards were ordered to withdraw. They had no sooner reached the ridge when Wellington ordered them back. They charged the French and drove them out of the orchard. The 1st Guards had played their part to secure Hougoumont.

John received his war pension from 1826 after 25 year's service, and was assigned to the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. By 1841 he was living up north at the home of Richard and Jane Miners, who were from Shropshire, in Hardman Street, Manchester. It would appear the John Skerratt never married. In 1851 at the age of 67 he was still living at the Miners' house on Hardman Street, as a lodger. His occupation was given as Chelsea Pensioner and his birthplace was given as Cranage, Cheshire.

On 5th July 1869, John Skerratt died in Manchester aged 85. He was buried on 9th July in Plot A5 number 471 of the Dissenters portion.